Points by Ben Simmons during Game 3 victory over Nets

Temple quarterback Phillip Walker throws for 199 yards and two touchdown passes while the Owls’ defense shuts down Navy’s triple-option rushing attack as the Owls triumph, 34-10, to capture the American Athletic Conference title.

The 76ers have agreed to extend center Joel Embiid’s contract for five years at a total cost of $148 million, according to multiple reports. Injuries limited Embiid to 31 games last season after he sat out his first two NBA seasons with injuries.

The Greek God of Wrestling previews Sunday’s Money in the Bank event, which will make history with the first women’s Money in the Bank ladder match. Achilles Heel also alerts fans to the interesting matchups for Sunday’s Johnny Kidd Invitational, previews Friday’s Best in the World pay-per-view from Ring of Honor, and tells you the next time WWE and Ring of Honor will be in Philadelphia.

Archive for the ‘From where I sit’ Category

Fish ‘n Chips

Posted by Eric Fisher On August - 17 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

(The Fish ‘n Chips column is sponsored by Legal Sea Foods – Gourmet Gift Division … so much more than Fish ‘n Chips … “If it isn’t fresh, it isn’t Legal!”)
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Charlie Manuel’s relationship with Phillies fans was not a case of love at first sight.

Manuel may have loved Phillies fans. But they did not initially love him.

When he was introduced before his first home game as Phillies manager, Manuel was booed. He was booed because he replaced Larry Bowa, a fan favorite from his playing days. He was booed because there was a perception that he was brought to the Phillies organization primarily because he was Jim Thome’s mentor. And he was booed because he wasn’t Jim Leyland, the people’s choice (and mine) to replace Bowa.

It didn’t help that Manuel spoke with a think country accent and stumbled all over his words during news conferences.

Thankfully, first impressions aren’t always lasting impressions. Manuel’s relationship with the fans changed over time.

Five straight division titles helped change fans’ perception of Manuel. So, obviously, did the 2008 World Series championship.

But to say that winning alone changed fans’ perception of Manuel is too simplistic. The more fans saw of Manuel, the more they liked him.

Manuel continued to stumble over his words at news conferences. The imitations of Manuel, however, were transformed from derisive to endearing.

People started to enjoy Manuel’s anecdotes and folksy charm. They appreciated his loyalty to his players, his genuine appreciation for Phillies fans and his passion for baseball.

Genuine is an appropriate word to describe Manuel. He is as genuine as they come. Even during his farewell news conference Friday, he expressed appreciation for general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. while making it clear that he did not agree with the decision to push him out the door.

Some people were never able to get past Manuel’s accent. Others realized that the depiction of “Uncle Charlie” as a backwoods bumpkin was an unfair stereotype.

Manuel wasn’t the greatest game strategist in baseball history, but he is a smart man. Manuel learned to speak Japanese, for crying out loud. His native language, however, was hitting. Manuel loved to talk hitting.

By the time the Phillies won the World Series, Manuel was approaching folk hero status.  His proclamation that “This is for you, Philadelphia!” the night the Phillies won the World Series is almost as unforgettable as Chase Utley’s infamous profane line after the championship parade.

My favorite Manuel moments from the World Series championship aren’t from Citizens Bank Park. Go to Youtube and look for clips of Manuel during the parade. Listen to the fans chanting “Charlie! Charlie!” as his bus stopped in various neighborhoods along Broad Street.

Fans also often broke into the “Charlie! Charlie!” chant when Manuel got into a vociferous argument with an umpire.

Phillies fans grew to love Charlie Manuel. Even those who believe this was the correct time to fire Manuel the manager are sorry to see Manuel the person go.

Manuel wasn’t only the winningest manager in Phillies history. He may be the most beloved manager in Phillies history.

It wasn’t always that way. But Manuel won the fans over.

I’d even bet that some of the same fans who once booed Manuel shed a tear or two Friday while watching Manuel’s farewell news conference.


DUAL LOYALTIES: The rumors that surfaced when Josh Harris’ investment group purchased the New Jersey Devils and Prudential Arena for $320 million are an indication that Philadelphia fans don’t trust Sixers management.

Harris emphatically said he does not have plans to move the Sixers to Newark. I believe him. Why? Because the NBA doesn’t want to leave the Philadelphia market vacant and the Knicks and Nets would object to having a third team in the New York/North Jersey market.

But if those obstacles weren’t in the way, do you believe Harris would move the Sixers to Newark? If you had even a moment’s hesitation, that’s evidence of the trust issues fans have with Harris and Sixers management.

And how is Scott O’Neil supposed to serve as the CEO of both the Sixers and Devils? That could make for some uncomfortable moments and awkward silence when O’Neil crosses paths with Flyers management inside Wells Fargo Center.


WAITING GAME: Amid all the jokes about the Sixers taking nearly four months to hire Brett Brown as head coach, there were some serious consequences.

Michael Curry, associate head coach under Doug Collins and presumably a candidate for the head coaching position, is now out of a job. So are assistant coaches Aaron McKie and Jeff Capel.

Although they are under contract for another year and will get paid, it will be very difficult for any of them to get an assistant coaching position at this time of year. Most NBA franchises have their coaching staffs in place long before mid-August. General manager Sam Hinkie’s marathon coaching search was unfair to assistants who are left twisting in the wind after being dismissed.


COACHES FOR THE AGES: Three head coaches have been hired in Philadelphia this year. All are getting their first opportunities to be a head coach for a professional franchise. One is 49 (Chip Kelly), another is 52 (Brett Brown) and the third is 53 (Sandberg).


GOOD LUCK, SOUL: Because this edition of Fish ‘n Chips is being written within 24 hours of ArenaBowl XXVI – and many of you will read this after that game – I am burying the Soul near the bottom of this column. But I wish the Soul luck as they face the Arizona Rattlers in the Arena Football League’s championship game for the second straight season.

The Rattlers won last season’s ArenaBowl. Let’s hope there’s a different outcome this year.

Eric Fisher, who has been covering sports for nearly 25 years, is approaching the right age to become a first-time head coach for a Philadelphia sports franchise. Look out, Peter Laviolette!


From where I sit

Posted by Ron Opher On May - 4 - 2013 1 COMMENT

The Eagles were fortunate that former USC quarterback Matt Barkley lasted until the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft last weekend.

According to Eagles GM Howie Roseman, the Birds tried to trade up into the latter stages of the third round Friday night without success, but managed to work out a deal to pick first on Saturday morning and land Barkley.

Whether Barkley will eventually emerge as the starter at QB for the Eagles is in many ways not the point of this piece.

I decided to write because Barkley’s story is being played out in the media as one of him stupidly going back to Southern Cal for his senior season when it is speculated he would have been a top-10 pick in the 2012 draft and thus would have signed a $10 million or so contract.

(If you don’t believe how harsh I’m painting my colleagues to be, just take a listen to Jim Rome).

Barkley decided to honor a commitment and returned for the 2012 college football season, which came with highs and lows – but more lows than he and the Trojans would have liked.

Maybe Barkley was trying to press his luck and follow Andrew Luck as 2013’s top draft pick. I guess that would make him greedy.

But by all accounts, Barkley simply felt he had unfinished business at USC and that he wasn’t ready for the NFL last season. While he may have been wrong about how his college season ended up turning out, he’s no more wrong than NFL front office personnel who loved him in 2012 and ran away from him in 2013.

In short, Barkley did not get 90 picks worse in one season.

Maybe he was overestimated in 2012.
Maybe he was underestimated in 2013.

But if I’m Matt Barkley and I want to complete my college commitment unafraid of what might happen next, I shouldn’t have to defend my decision just because I didn’t get a big payday. That’s Matt Barkley’s issue, not ours.

Remember the 1999 draft? Is Tim Couch happy with how that turned out? How about Akili Smith? Or even Cade McNown or Daunte Culpepper, who at least had some fleeting success in the NFL?

They may have gotten fat bank accounts out of the experience, but once their NFL careers got out to underwhelming starts, they never recovered.

When that happens to a player, they are said to be “stealing money.” Not in the Andrew Bynum kind of way – for lack of effort or caring – but in the way where money is thrown at them because of what they did in the past at another level, with no real assurance that they can compete effectively at the next level.

Does a 25-year old want to make a deal with the devil and take the big payday while living the rest of his life as a walking example of someone who didn’t come close to living up to his potential?

I applaud Matt Barkley for choosing the path that felt right to him. It may not be as financially rewarding at first – or maybe ever.

But he will now have the chance to truly earn it…and I would suspect he will enjoy a richer life – not necessarily measured in dollars – as a result.


Harper hits 1st home run as Phillie